Church in West Africa devises new approach for spreading the Gospel

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of the Province of West Africa has come up with a new methodology to help spread the Gospel while addressing the socio-economic aspects of the people in the province.

The Most Rev. Solomon Tilewa Johnson, archbishop and primate, revealed the plan recently in Botswana, where he had been invited to participate in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Anglican Diocese of Botswana, an occasion which was also used to bid farewell to the bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. Trevor Mwamba.

“I have advised all my bishops to develop departments with a specific role,” he explained. “For instance, the Diocese of Guinea has been given the task of developing a department of Liturgy and Worship for us to be relevant through the use of local languages so that people can really understand what the gospel means in their context.”

Johnson further explained: “We are determined to make Christ known within our own context; we are working hard to be relevant and see how we can not only spread the Word, but also find ways and means of dealing with the socio-economic context of our people.”

“We are looking for new entry points for ministry such as social justice issues; seeking to transform the unjust systems in our society; being vocal because the church has to be the voice of the voiceless,” he added. “This way we get to reinterpret the gospel within an African context.”

Johnson said he had also tasked the Diocese of Cameroon to take care of women, youth and children’s issues. He admitted that though these strategies are still in infancy, they are all an effort for the Church in West Africa “to be relevant in our own context.”

The archbishop also addressed the challenge of young people leaving the church for other churches. He said it is unfortunate that some young people are leaving the church for the “newer churches” that might even have “questionable doctrines.”

“As the Anglican Church, we need to pick up that challenge by having both sound doctrine and lively music. [But] we have to first and foremost train the young people after identifying the gifts given them by the Holy Spirit,” he said.

Johnson said that “the primary work of a bishop is to equip his flock.” He also prayed that the new bishop of Botswana brings with him new ideas “that will build upon the work already done by his predecessors.”

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